Fire and rescue personnel manning the emergency number 101 have become used to such misdirected grievances besides hoax calls by pranksters

Fire and rescue personnel manning the emergency number 101 in the city are no longer startled by angry outbursts of mobile phone users demanding restoration of their service or bossy apartment owners ordering maintenance of lift.

They have become used to such misdirected grievances besides hoax calls by pranksters. Even genuine panicky calls received in between have been problematic. Many calls were not from the district, as it is supposed to be, but are from as far as Parassala and Kasaragod.

Officials vouch that on an average they receive 500-odd such calls daily that have nothing to do with emergencies. “We receive calls ordering services from hotel occupants or apartment owners, which are obviously made to in-house intercom numbers but somehow get misdirected to us,” said an official..

A far more common occurrence is calls from agitated mobile phone users of almost all service providers raising a slew of demands ranging from recharge of vouchers to lodging of complaints about the service. “They mistake the number for their customer care number,” he said.

To make matters worse, even genuine calls from outside the district get directed to the 101 number here owing to some technical errors. It may be too late by the time officials rang up the fire station concerned.

Hoax calls by pranksters, including children, pose far more serious problems with the latest incident being the one where fire and rescue personnel had to roam around Vyttilla and Pettah following a hoax call from a mobile phone.

“We often take the mobile phone number and address of the caller and return a call to that number to confirm that the call is genuine. Sometimes we skip the confirmation part and pass the information when the reported incident is near a fire station. But there have been several instances when we were fooled even after making those confirmation calls,” he said.

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